Of Special Interest ...examining a significantly timely topic
Smart beta ETFs have become an immensely popular investment tool, attracting billions of dollars in AUM by providing investors with targeted exposure to factors such as Value, Momentum and Quality. Characteristics such as these have been shown to generate alpha over time, and investors understandably wish to have focused positions in these return-generating styles.
Investor sentiment seems to be unusually conflicted these days. There are worries aplenty, including numerous political skirmishes of consequence around the world, a slowing global economy, and lofty U.S. equity valuations. On the other hand, fiscal stimulus is high for this stage in an economic cycle and the Fed is easing monetary policy, two policy drivers it rarely pays to bet against.
After a hiatus of several years, we are re-introducing one of our favorite analytical tools. A thematic basket is a custom-designed set of assets which are exposed to, and will react similarly to, a common theme. Our first new thematic basket is “Capital Spending Beneficiaries.”
With an abundance of year-end updates in this edition of Perception for the Professional, we plan to release the content for this “Of Special Interest” section separately in mid-January.
Relative performance of active and passive mutual funds is one of the leading story lines in our industry, with passive’s recent advantage leading some to argue that it will be the dominant style forevermore. We disagree, and believe that the active/passive relationship has been, and always will be, cyclical.
Also known as smart beta or strategic beta, factor investing has become the hottest portfolio management trend in the last five years. The smart beta space exceeds $600 billion in assets under management.